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2024 Lexus GX Road Test and Review

Brady Holt
by Brady Holt
June 6, 2024
2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

In 2003, the first-generation Lexus GX wasn’t only the brand’s first three-row mid-size SUV – it was among only a handful of three-row mid-size SUVs in existence. Still, this was a heavy-duty truck-based SUV that impressed more for its off-roading than its family hauling. And Lexus kept that same focus to the present day. 

For 2024, though, Lexus made one change: In addition to giving the GX its first full redesign since 2010, it introduced its first big three-row crossover – the Lexus TX. Now, the all-new 2024 Lexus GX 550 has room to double down on its off-road-ready status, even as it’s also better than ever as an on-road luxury vehicle. We just spent a week testing the redesigned GX, priced from $62,900, to explore its pros and cons. Keep reading our review to see if it’s the right luxury SUV for you. 

Boxier Than Ever

The GX has always been an upright, boxy SUV, but the redesign takes that to the max. The windshield is more upright, the front fascia is now straight vertical, and the hood is straight horizontal. And the old curves along the sides of the body are smoothed out. Lexus also simplified the front and rear ends with slim, horizontally stretched headlights and taillights. Those lights, plus a subtle version of the Lexus hourglass-shaped grille, distinguish the GX 550 from its new sibling: the downsized 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, which shares the same body and underpinnings but has blocker headlights and taillights. 

Emphasizing the off-road vibe are the new Overtrail models, like our Overtrail+ test vehicle. They have smaller wheels with all-terrain tires, two-tone bodies with black roofs and side mirrors, and rugged roof racks. Even for folks who don’t need the Overtrails' genuine capability – which we’ll come to later – the Overtrail’s looks might be a winner. 

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Posh Yet Purposeful Interior

The GX 550’s interior is well matched to both its exterior design and its overall package. It’s a high-end Lexus, with posh materials, smoothly operating moving parts, and excellent panel fit. And it has the big touchscreen (14 inches) you’d expect from a modern luxury SUV. Our test vehicle also wore smart two-tone upholstery. But at the same time, the dashboard is purposefully angular – the screen’s sharp corner even contributes to this square-truck vibe. 

What’s more, the GX backs up the style with the substance of user-friendly simplicity. Unlike many luxury vehicles, there are simple dials for common functions like stereo volume and climate temperature. The infotainment system is set up for simplicity more than technological dazzle, and it supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. We continue to have our issues with the Lexus infotainment layout: Notably, it stretches small bits of information across its full expanse, rather than letting you split the wide screen into more useful multiple views. But overall, the GX’s interior ambiance is opulent without forgetting about its SUV roots. 

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Available Three-Row Seating, Sometimes

The GX 550 has always offered three-row seating, and that family-friendly feature continues to this day – on certain trim levels. The hot new Overtrail models, like our test vehicle, are limited to five-passenger seating across two rows. 

The GX has enough room for five people to be decently comfortable, but the available third row is pretty small. It’s best for occasional emergency use. Even the second row doesn’t have super-generous legroom, though adults can fit without being too squeezed. Heated and ventilated front seats are standard, while options include front-seat massagers, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel. 

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Great Cargo Space, Incredible Towing Capacity

With the third-row seat in use, the GX 550 has a tiny 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space. But it can fold down to allow a respectable 40.2 cubic feet behind the second row, and the Overtrails have an excellent 45.6 cubic feet. Folding down the second row (which drops flat on three-row models and tumbles forward on the Overtrails) results in 76.9 cubic feet in total for three-row GXs and 90.5 cubic feet for Overtrails. That’s above average for a mid-size luxury SUV, especially the Overtrails. Lexus also lets you open the rear windshield separately to quickly grab small items. 

Even more incredible is the GX’s mighty towing capacity. Between its potent engine (which we’ll get to next) and its mighty frame, it can tow more than 9,000 pounds in both its base Premium and Premium+ trim levels as well as the Overtrail and Overtrail+. The Luxury and Luxury+ can still tow 7,601 to 8,020 pounds, depending on the configuration. These best-in-class figures beat even some full-size SUVs, including the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, and Lexus’s own LX 600. 

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Powerful New Turbo

Last year’s Lexus GX 460, like the GX 470 before it, used a silky naturally aspirated V8 engine. But the new GX 550’s turbocharged V6 is a clear step forward. 

Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, this 3.4-liter V6 makes 349 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque (versus last year’s 301 hp and 329 lb-ft). That’s enough to send this brick of an SUV to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. The engine delivers smooth, natural power, rather than the old GX 460’s ineffectually roaring V8. Just don’t expect wonders at the gas pump; Lexus prioritized improved speed over improved mileage. The old V8 GX 460 achieved EPA estimates of 15 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and 16 mpg combined; the new V6 GX 550 improves only to 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined – among the worst in its class. And we didn’t beat those numbers during our week with the vehicle. For less-silky speed but greater efficiency, the new Toyota Land Cruiser is a four-cylinder turbocharged hybrid that gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in mixed driving. 

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Steady Ride and Handling

Another big step forward is the GX’s newly steady ride and handling – remarkable for a tough body-on-frame SUV. The ride was gentle even as the steering tightened up significantly from last year’s model. (It helps that our Overtrail+ test vehicle wore 18-inch wheels rather than the Premium trims’ 20-inchers or the Luxurys’ 22s.) The selectable Sport+ mode improves things even further, particularly with the adaptive suspension found on the Overtrails and the top Luxury+ model. The GX 550 doesn’t beat a BMW X5 or even a Land Rover Defender, but it’s no longer a tired relic by comparison. 

And all the while, the GX remains a talented off-roader. Especially in Overtrail form, it lets you tackle light off-roading conditions without the fragility of the typical high-end SUV – and then keep pushing if you don’t mind a few scratches. A Torsen limited-slip center differential is standard, while the Overtrails add a locking rear differential as well. A “crawl control” feature acts like off-road cruise control, automatically manipulating both the engine and the brakes to maintain a preset low speed. And ground clearance, while not incredible, is above average at 8.7 inches on the Premium and Luxury trims and 8.9 inches on the Overtrails. 

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Priced From $62,900

The 2024 Lexus GX 550 starts at $62,900, which is about $4,000 more than the previous-generation model. Lexus offers three configurations – Premium, Luxury, and Overtrail, each with a choice of a standard model or a better-equipped “+”. All models have four-wheel drive and the same turbocharged V6. 

We’re partial to the rugged yet smooth-riding Overtrail, which starts at $67,900 with similar features to the Premium. But families may favor the three-row seating that’s reserved for the Premium or Luxury models. Our choice is the Premium between those two; we’re not convinced that the Luxury ($75,900) or even the Premium+ ($67,900) have enough extra content over the already-lavish Premium to justify such a steep premium. We also expect the Premium to ride more smoothly, thanks to its smaller wheels than the Luxury. But if you’re looking for every goody the GX has to offer, you can opt for the Overtrail+ ($75,900) or the Luxury+ ($79,900). That’s your ticket to amenities like a 21-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, a panoramic moonroof over a standard-size moonroof (Luxury+ only), and massaging seats. 

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Competitors to Consider

The closest rivals to the 2024 Lexus GX 550 are its siblings: the mechanically related Toyota Land Cruiser, newly downsized from a full-size SUV, and the Lexus TX crossover. The Land Cruiser provides a similar experience for less money and with better gas mileage, but with less interior opulence, a noisier engine, and no available third-row seat. And the TX is the practical on-road family-friendly SUV for folks who like a big Lexus but prefer space, fuel economy, and lower prices to maximum power, capability, and character. 

Beyond Toyota and Lexus, the GX faces the Land Rover Defender in the niche of boxy luxury SUVs that are extremely capable off-road while also being surprisingly pleasant on pavement. We find the Land Rover even more endearing to drive and it gets better gas mileage, but the Lexus is a simpler machine from its easier dashboard controls to less complex (and possibly less failure-prone) engineering. We’d also shop the GX against a fully optioned Jeep Grand Cherokee, which doesn’t drive as smoothly but uses less gas. And if off-road ability and image aren’t a priority, other mid-size luxury SUVs we like include the BMW X5, Genesis GV80, Volvo XC90, and Acura MDX. 

2024 Lexus TX 550h+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus TX 550h+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt

A Greatly Improved Niche Player

The 2024 Lexus GX 550 is a niche player in the mid-size luxury SUV segment. Its mighty off-road capability leaves it with a higher price, worse gas mileage, and less passenger space than best-selling crossover rivals. 

But the redesign makes it a much better niche player than before. Lexus dialed up the SUV’s personality inside and out, all while helping it drive better both on and off the road – with better ride, handling, and acceleration. When a tough brick of a machine is the more appealing luxury SUV to you than a more car-like crossover, the new GX 550 is a winner. 

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ ・ Photo by Brady Holt


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